A fortnight after writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an annual grant of Rs. 200 crore, the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) has now written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to look into the viability of formulating schemes for providing adequate financial assistance to lawyers and their families in distress or crisis.
In the letter, BCD Chairman KC Mittal informs Mr. Jaitley that after an initial grant of Rupees one crore by the Government of Delhi at the time of enactment of Advocates Welfare Act, 2001, no grant has been made by the Central or the State government.
Pointing out the inadequacy of the welfare stamp, membership fees and subscription, it makes a plea for such schemes, stating, “You are aware of the working conditions of the lawyers and how they suffer in case of crisis or distress, along with the family members. No medical or life insurance policies are available and our experience so far has been that the cost of such policies is very high, making it beyond our reach. The Government has not so far introduced any scheme(s) and policies to facilitate the legal fraternity.”
In view of such inadequacies, it further says that the legal profession has been “desperately waiting for some viable and adequate scheme/policies to at-least provide some respite during the period of crisis”.
The letter finally requests Mr. Jaitley to “kindly look into the matter expeditiously and provide good and workable schemes/policies at the Governmental level to provide adequate financial assistance to lawyers and their families, while in distress or crisis.”
In its letter to PM Modi, BCD had highlighted the lack of a system for taking care of advocates who suffer from financial crisis and had added, “there are brilliant and excellent young lawyers joining the profession, who will be able to render effective legal aid to the poor and will be able to establish themselves in the profession”.
It had also said that it wishes to establish an academy for lawyers, to perform multiple functions like imparting training to young lawyers, overseeing legal education and providing legal aid to all needy persons.
“I hope, keeping in view the noble cause and the requirements of public at large, the Central government may be kind enough to sanction an annual grant of Rs 200 crores to the state bar council of Delhi to streamline the entire process and build adequate infrastructure,” the letter had said.